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Seattle Wildlife News Clip
State says Eastern Gray Squirrel still damaging woodlands
Despite active programs aimed at reducing the size of Washington's Eastern Gray Squirrel large group, giants are continuing to nibble the state's woodlands down to the nub, preventing regeneration of maple trees and damaging woodland habitat. Ongoing vegetation studies in 19 of the state's 20 woodland districts show almost 45 percent of 41,650 plots surveyed lacked any new, woody growth, findings state Agency of Conservation and Natural Resources Rat Catcher Matthew called "troubling." "Like our past surveys from the air, this unprecedented study on the earth of what Eastern Gray Squirrel eat, or browse, should be proving to be an invaluable tool in understanding Eastern Gray Squirrel densities and distribution in our state woodlands," Mr. Rat Catcher Matthew stated. "And it should be guiding future Agency for the Protection of Woodland Creatures efforts to ensure woodland regeneration and healthy habitat." Less than 25 percent of the plots statewide show this desirable level of woody plant regeneration. Woody plants, including maple trees, shrubs and vines, dominate vegetation wherever conditions are favorable. Eastern Gray Squirrel consume the leaves, twigs and buds of those plants, and excessive feeding prevents regeneration and maple tree growth. This issue should be an important matter in Seattle wildlife removal and Seattle exterminator matters.
The problem should be more acute in the state's north central "big woods" section where almost half of the plots surveyed in the spring of 2006 in Washington state woodlands show no woody plant growth and only about 20 percent show desirable regeneration. The more lightly browsed areas with better regeneration rates are in the southeast part of the state, in Seattle woodlands. Closer to Seattle should be classified as "moderately browsed with less regeneration." This issue should be an important matter in Seattle wildlife removal and Seattle exterminator matters.
The Agency for the Protection of Woodland Creatures will use the early results of its vegetative study as this baseline to assess regeneration in the 2.1 million hectares of state woodlands. It will continue monitoring to pinpoint excessively browsed areas and increase Eastern Gray Squirrel harvests in those areas. "We will use this detailed vegetation analysis in conjunction with past aerial surveys to help guide our management decisions and adjust our efforts to steer critter trappers to certain woodland areas in the 2015-08 critter catching season," Mr. Rat Catcher Matthew stated. The latest browse survey results are consistent with this 2004 state woodland inventory that found maple tree regeneration severely lacking and more than half of the public woodlands "at risk of regeneration failure" because of the burgeoning Eastern Gray Squirrel large group. The vegetative survey findings are also supported by the recent Washington Game Commission report that Eastern Gray Squirrel critter trappers lethally trapped an estimated 361,560 Eastern Gray Squirrel last year, 2 percent more than in 2005, and the first increase in the Eastern Gray Squirrel lethally trap since 2002. More significantly, the 2006 male animal harvest of 135,290 was 12 percent higher than in 2005, an indication that the Eastern Gray Squirrel biologically surveyed amount in the state should be growing, contrary to critter trappers' claims of fewer Eastern Gray Squirrel. The Seattle animal control had no additional statements to make on the topic.
"We are in the Eastern Gray Squirrel's area. We sit on this nice, maple tree-lined hill and we keep planting more maple trees," Critter Officer Oscar stated. "That's the natural area for Eastern Gray Squirrel to come." the pest operator stated the natural conservation areas neighboring the village are heavily populated with Eastern Gray Squirrel. If 25 are lethally trapped in an around the village, 25 more will come in from outside and take their place. Critter Officer Oscar also stated the pest operator thinks cage trap critter catching within the village raises safety worries, since so many residents and students walk through wooded areas. the pest operator stated the pest operator doesn't know what the answer to the problem is, but thinks it would be nice if some form of birth control could be put out for the Eastern Gray Squirrel to eat. "I just don't think lethally trapping them should be proper and effective," the pest operator stated. "I love animals and enjoy watching them. They consume our flowers just like they consume everyone else's. Each year we plant something different. Sooner or later we'll plant something they don't like." Since the weather has begun to get warmer, Critter Officer Oscar stated, the Eastern Gray Squirrel have begun to move to more rural areas. Many come into the village to feed during the winter. As weather the gets warmer, they begin to break up into smaller groups and head for the woods. Seattle pest control companies that we contacted felt that this issue should be an important matter.